Woman Knits Toys for Tots and to Ease Parkinson’s Symptoms

Sometimes you come across a video that just makes you smile. Sometimes you come across a video that makes you glad you’re a knitter. And sometimes you come across videos that make you do both. Such is the case of this video today, about Thelma Parkinson who not only knits toys to donate to kids in need, but also knits for the therapeutic benefits.


Thelma Parkinson has been knitting for fun for more than 80 years – but now her favourite hobby is keeping a debilitating disease at bay.

The Te Aroha 88-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about three years ago and says knitting is the one thing that stops her from shaking.

“My son said to me one day, ‘Mum your head keeps shaking’ and I said ‘no it’s not’ and he said ‘it is Mum, you do it all the time’.”

”So I thought I better see the doctor and sure enough – Thelma Parkinson has Parkinson’s,” she laughed.

But while the disease is no laughing matter, Mrs Parkinson is thrilled that deserving children around the Waikato are reaping the rewards of her condition ”because for some reason knitting stops me from shaking,” she said.

Her doctor believes the relief from shaking comes from the focus required to knit.

”My brain is concentrating on the knitting so the symptoms seem to stop.”

That comes in handy when Mrs Parkinson wakes in the night from excessive shaking.

”I’ve been known to sit there in the dark and knit away quite happily until I fall asleep again – I’m pleased no-one comes in and sees me because they would probably think I’m daft,” she giggled.

The result is a virtual production line of expertly crafted children’s toys that are bagged up and taken to charities such as St John, Salvation Army, Child, Youth and Family and Adoption Services.

If you’d like to learn more about knitting and how it can help people with various conditions, go check out the wonderful website Stitchlinks.

Also, thanks to Crafty Magazine for this lovely interview they asked me to do recently. So very flattered!

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